Monday, June 29, 2009

'Yes we can'

In NHPC’s absence, JK PDC running Baglihar successfully 


Srinagar, June 28: Even as the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation has not taken over the operation and maintenance of the 450-mw Baglihar project, the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation has successfully run the facility ever since its commissioning in October last putting a question mark on the government’s decision to hand it over to the former. 
 The NHPC is believed to have approached the premier company in the international power generation sector, Siemens, for assistance to operate and maintain the state-owned power plant. However, there has been no response from the company. “They (NHPC) don’t have the expertise well versed to maintain the state-of-the art project because of which it is reluctant to take over the job,” sources told Greater Kashmir Sunday.
 A senior JKPDC official, wishing anonymity, said the project was being successfully run by the Corporation.
“The JKPDC engineers are looking after its maintenance and operation with finesse showing that the state government’s apprehensions about their competence were misplaced. The decision to handover the project to NHPC was taken in   a hurry,” he said.  
 At a meeting in March this year, the JKPDC board of directors had decided to hand over the Baglihar project to the NHPC for operation and maintenance. The move had evoked severe criticism from JKPDC rank and file who believed that the Corporation had the wherewithal and expertise to run the project.
 “As per the agreements between the two corporations, the NHPC would charge Rs 120 crore annually for maintenance and operation of the project for two years,” the official said, adding it had even taken an advance of Rs 25 crore from the state government recently. However, even after receiving the advance payment, the NHPC failed to live up to its commitment to run the facility. 
 Having run the power project successfully, the PDC officials have urged the government to reconsider the earlier decision and even demanded an inquiry into why the corporations’ manpower was not trained for maintenance and operation of project.  
 “It could have been done for the past nine years since the execution of the Baglihar project was taken up. Unfortunately, the authorities didn’t pay any heed to the all important aspect. Those responsible for it should be punished,” said a senior JKPDC engineer. 
 “It seems a conspiracy is being hatched at some levels to prove that Baglihar is a failure and the state government has no wherewithal either to set up or manage the power projects independently,” sources said. “In any case, Baglihar project, whose daily income is more than Rs three crore, should have been accorded a high priority.”
 The JKPDC officials are apprehensive of the fact that the Baglihar was set up on the river Chenab in between Dul Hasti and Salal, both centrally-owned projects run by NHPC.
 “The corporation has its interests directly linked with the two projects. With Baglihar sandwiched between Dul Hasti and Salal, the NHPC will have full control on when to release the water from Dul Hasti to Baglihar and onwards to Salal for generation at the cost of state owned project.” the official said.


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